Senior A Twenty20 Final
Waitangi Day. What a day!
The advertising poster promised much. Heathcote Valley Domain was the place to be on Waitangi Day, 2014: bathed in sunshine, its crater-like ground ringed with enthusiastic supporters, and foot-tapping music rung out from the newly-refurbished pavilion that sat snuggly in the hillside. The host committee had ensured that all was set for a cracking match, and both teams delivered in spades on that advertising blurb!
Halswell won the toss and inserted Heathcote on a worn pitch with one minute boundary on this saucer of a ground. Englishman Matt House and Greg Puller opened for the hosts and looked comfortable in the early overs as they raced to 29 in less than four overs before Puller departed. Policeman Grant Stewart entered to the accompanying 60s song of “I fought the law and the law won” but Halswell showed no respect for the constabulary as he departed for a duck. Enter veteran John Garry who played an innings of some genuine class and, in combination with House, proceeded to assert their dominance over Halswell. However, at 78, House was bowled and left to the accompaniment of the theme from Coronation Street. A real momentum swing came with the fall of Garry’s wicket to his lone indiscretion and what looked like a formidable total now seemed a struggle. Dayle Eathorne was marshaling his bowlers well and led the charge with four wickets. He received able support from the wily Mike Chatterton who angled the ball in to good effect on the tired-looking pitch.
Heathcote managed 143 which looked probably 20 runs short of what they wanted and, for some time, what they would have expected to get.
This theory looked likely when Halswell’s Geoff Barclay opened his shoulders and swung like a village cricketer might, and to great effect. His four 6s and two boundaries had the visitors racing to 43 in just four overs as he found an able lieutenant in Eathorne. There was relief as Barclay heaved rustically across the line once too often and Umpire Wyeth answered the pleas of both bowler and crowd. It wasn’t until Captain Eathorne, caught at long off, departed to the tones of “Hit the road, Jack!” that the momentum was back with Heathcote.
As expected, Halswell wouldn’t lie down: 18 overs gone, 8 down, total 127, runs required 144. This was tailor-made for veteran Jason Pawson; as parsimonious as any medium pacer in Christchurch cricket. He was to claim that he got too much swing but two wides in his first three balls saw the nervous spectators strain forward in their seats and on the grassy banks. He tightened his line to concede only 7 runs. Ten runs needed; one over left but what of those short boundaries?
Craig Primmer, hero of the One Day final, local legend and captain, took it upon his own broad shoulders to bowl the last over to Mike Chatterton. The first ball clattered into the stumps of Chatts, followed by three quick singles and a dot ball. Fielders hugged each other; prematurely perhaps as 7 could be scored off the remaining ball. A scrambled 2 told the Heathcote Tavern that the shouts from up the valley meant a local victory… and the chance of claiming all three trophies available to this grade. Kris Rowe bowled well for his three wickets while Pawson and Dan Lamond took the pace off the ball to make shot-making difficult.
Not a match of great skill, it was rather more a busy match, one of real enthusiasm and one of great endeavour enjoyed by a crowd in good humour and good voice. This will be a memorable match to all who attended on Waitangi Day, 2014.